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Harassment, Intimidation and Bullying (HIB) Policy

Harassment, Intimidation and Bullying (HIB) Policy

Anti-Bullying Specialists

Phoebe Pennypacker and Maureen Romanowski are our school’s  Anti-Bullying Specialists (ABS).  

Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights

Below is some information about the Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights (ABR).

The ABR defines harassment, intimidation and bullying (HIB) as any gesture, any written, verbal or physical act, or any electronic communication, whether it be a single incident or a series of incidents, that is reasonably perceived as being motivated either by an actual or perceived characteristic, such as:

  • Race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, or a mental, physical or sensory disability or by any other distinguishing characteristic; and that
  • Takes place on school property, at any school-sponsored function, on a school bus, or • off school grounds, that substantially disrupts or interferes with the orderly operation of the school or the rights of other students; and that
  • A reasonable person should know, under the circumstances, will have the effect of physically or emotionally harming a student or damaging the student’s property, or placing a student in reasonable fear of physical or emotional harm to his person or damage to his property; or • Has the effect of insulting or demeaning any student or group of students; or
  • Creates a hostile educational environment for the student by interfering with a student’s education or by severely or pervasively causing physical or emotional harm to the student. (N.J.S.A. 18A:37-14) The ABR does not explain the meaning of a “distinguishing characteristic.” However, the dictionary (Webster’s Ninth Collegiate Dictionary) defines the word “distinguish” as “… to perceive a difference in … to mark as separate or different … to separate into kinds, classes or categories … to set above or apart from others … to single out…” The same dictionary defines the word “characteristic” as “…something that identifies a person or thing or class…”

Conflict vs. Bullying

During a conflict, name-calling, threats and other conduct that might look like bullying can occur. However, a conflict and bullying are very different. Unlike bullying, during a conflict people are equally involved in some type of disagreement. Conflict is considered mutual, meaning everyone is more or less evenly involved. Bullying, on the other hand, involves one or several people (the bullies) intentionally committing a mean or violent act against another person(s) or group of people (the victims). When bullying occurs, there is no mutual participation in a disagreement; it is one-sided. Bullying victims have a hard time defending themselves. The victims want the bullying to stop, but the bully continues the behavior. Conflicts and bullying can interrupt the school day, damage property and cause injuries to the people involved. However, when the behavior involves a conflict, the school will take action based on its code of student conduct instead of the ABR. Bullying occurs when:

  • One or more students are victims of unwanted or uninvited aggression, as the behavior applies to the definition of harassment, intimidation and bullying in the ABR;
  • The aggressor’s behavior would lead a person to reasonably believe that the aggressor is motivated by a desire to physically or emotionally hurt someone;
  • The aggression is one-sided; and
  • The behavior is not an attempt to positively or negatively address or resolve a problem.

Examples of bullying vs. conflict by grade level are provided below:

Grade Level


(Mutual disagreements, arguments or fights)


(Intent to emotionally or physically hurt a student; it is one-sided)

Elementary School

“You copied my picture… you stole my idea!”

“No, I didn’t … you copied from my picture!”

A fellow student grabs the picture you colored and tears it up, calling you names related to your religion and cultural heritage.

Middle/Junior High School

“After you borrowed my basketball, I asked that you return it and you didn’t!”

“I did return it… I left it on your porch.”

While practicing basketball skills in the gym, several students sit nearby and call out insulting comments about the color of your skin and your basketball skills. 

High School

“You went after my boyfriend at the party and tried to hook-up with him.”

“I was told you broke up and he was available… and he didn’t seem too unhappy with me!”

A student posts explicit photos and insulting words about your sexual orientation on Facebook, attacking you for “stealing” her boyfriend. 


In closing, an upstander  is a student and other people who take an active role in stopping the bullying of others.  This is done either by not encouraging the bullies, by reaching out to the victim, by telling someone who can stop the bully or by taking other actions that can help the victim or stop the bullying.   Please join us in encouraging your child to be an upstander and join the staff in keeping our school a safe and enjoyable place.